Super real deal indie director Steve Balderson was ever so kind to have an email interview with me. I can’t thank him enough. A few years ago I wondered “where has all the indie gone?” and found the answer in Steve’s movies and his production ideals.
His newest movie, The Casserole Club makes its world premiere as the “Centerpiece Screening” at VisionFest ’11. Held at the Tribeca Cinema, Friday June 24th at 9:30 PM. Q&A after with cast! You can buy tickets here.
The website for The Casserole Club is super retrotastic filled with recipes for casseroles and proper drinks, fabulous photos, as well as more info about the film.
First the trailer, then we dish.
Q: I still am trying to get over your last film, STUCK! which I saw at the Boston Underground Film Festival. I happened to be in town, read about your film, and got a ticket immediately. Could you tell me about your new film, the fantastically titled The Casserole Club? I’ve of course already got my ticket for it.
A: I love that you’re still trying to “get over” STUCK! Wait until you see THE CASSEROLE CLUB. You’ll be totally wrecked for years! (Laughs) THE CASSEROLE CLUB is my take on irresponsibility, selfish people, damaged relationships, and history, all set in the perfect 1969 California suburbia.
A: Yes, I love working with the same people. It’s also really fun to see them playing different types of characters. Jane did double duty on this one. She was my Girl Friday, my right-hand man. She did everything from helping with the script, to art design, deal with the cast, and she even made the best damn salad bar buffet one night for the whole cast and crew! I couldn’t have done it without her.
Q: Jane is really more than just a sexy Go-Go! You have a talented cast, besides your usual ladies. There are some actors like Daniela Sea from The L Word , and actors who have been on Criminal Minds. Segue into… there is a former Backstreet Boy in your movie! I’m sorry, he has a name and it is Kevin Scott Richardson. Did you seek him out? What’s the story? Has it caused any stirs or to-do’s? Are you sick of this question?
A: (Laughing), Not sick of it at all. Kevin and (co-producer and actor) Garrett Swan knew each other, and when I was casting, Garrett suggested I look at him. He had great reviews performing in Chicago on Broadway, so I thought I’d give him a try. This would be his film debut. I’m so thankful I cast him. Kevin is brilliant in the film and he was great to work with!
Q: I remember in the Q&A for Stuck! Mink Stole mentioned how they each decorated their own prison cells. Anything similar to that kind of participation in The Casserole Club?
A: Yes! On our first day, to have the cast get to know each other, I separated the men and the women. Since this movie deals with five couples, who are also good friends, it would naturally – in real life circa 1969 – be made up of the husbands sitting in the den, or by the pool, sipping scotch and having cigars, and the wives would be in the kitchen prepping dinner, gossiping, etc. So on day one, I had the guys all go to the liquor store and buy booze, then come back and take all the labels off and replace them with period 1969 labels. Meanwhile, I had the women get together and each bake a casserole dish – which we would later use as part of the meal they would be actually eating in the scene. Another thing we did was all live together in the same house. Everyone slept there, and worked there, and it was great! Everyone got to know each other really quickly. Which actually translates on screen. The performances are much stronger I think, because of the way we made the movie.
Q: Who did the costuming, hair and makeup? I am already having heart palpitations from the movie poster!
A: I selected certain outfits that I wanted for some people, but everyone really took care of themselves and did their own wardrobe – under my supervision of course. Some people did their own make-up and then we had Make Up and Hair artists Kelsey Bodine and Linda Sammut. Doing period costume, hair and make-up was a challenge. But it came across perfectly delicious!
Q: Where was it shot? How long did it take?
A: In the Palm Springs, California area in September 2010 for 14 days.
Q: I understand it was shot on video, did you edit, and on what system?
A: I did the editing on Final Cut. I had a great editing consultant, Stephen Eckleberry who helped me amazingly
Q: You are a director who is truly indie. That word has lost its meaning over the years but you are one of the directors bringing it back. Could you speak a little about that? How do you “work it?”
A: I have a manifesto that is about six pages long (or maybe longer) that really explains the answer to your question. But since you can’t print the whole thing (unless you wanted to), let’s just say that I believe it’s best for me to be independent and have the freedom to make the projects I want to make, when, where, and how I want. And in the process, I’ve figured out how to make a million-dollar product for next to nothing.